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Gift Returns Made Easy with 5 Simple Tips

You are going to get some great deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but there's no guarantee your gifts will go over well with everyone. Here are five tips to make sure your presents will be presentable for returns and exchanges.

1. Keep your receipts.

As most everyone knows, the majority of retailers require a receipt for a refund, as proof of your purchase. It's also a good idea to keep the original box and other packaging -- even the shopping bag -- in case a store clerk gets suspicious or extra picky, AARP money specialist Ron Burley says.

You should also include a gift receipt when giving your gifts, so your recipient can return or exchange your gift more easily, suggests Burley.

2. Read the return policy.

Each store has a different policy when it comes to returns and exchanges. But note that one-third to one-half of retailers usually relax their return policies around the holidays -- for example, extending deadlines and waiving receipt requirements, according to the National Retail Federation.

3. Be aware of restocking fees.

Certain products may not entitle you to a full refund upon return. Electronics and special orders, for example, may be charged a restocking fee -- typically 10% to 15%. State laws usually limit how much retailers can charge for restocking fees.

4. Track mail-order gifts that never arrived.

Federal law comes into play when you order goods by mail, by phone, or online. Sellers must ship your goods within 30 days, unless the offer specifies a later delivery date. If your shipment is delayed, the retailer must tell you -- and give you a chance to cancel and get your money back.

5. Think before you redeem e-gifts.

E-gifting is a growing trend, but what if you get an e-present that you don't want to keep? Think twice before you install, download, or type in your redemption code -- any of those actions may make your gift non-returnable. Check online retailers' customer service pages for details on how to make an e-gift return or exchange.

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